Luton teenager arrested for trying to be a good citizen

Wardown Park - where the teen found a machete
Wardown Park - where the teen found a machete

A 17-year-old from Luton was arrested after trying to hand in a machete to police who allegedly failed to respond to his 999 and 101 calls.

The youngster, who cannot be named because of his age, says he phoned Beds Police on October 9 after finding a machete lying on the grass at Wardown Park.

After no response to his 999 and 101 calls, the concerned teen decided to take the machete to the police station but was captured on CCTV with the weapon in his bag.

Police swooped down on him and the college student was arrested, put in a cell and charged with possession of a dangerous weapon before being hauled in front of magistrates last week.

“I can’t describe how horrible it’s been,” said the teenager.

“I was trying to do a good thing. We were walking towards the police station and my friend who was with me showed the call history to the police.

“I made three attempts. I rang them on 999 and they told me it was a non-emergency. And I rang 101 twice but there was no answer.”

The teen said he told police about the machete in his bag before being taken in.

He said: “I told them the sequence of events.

“I was trying to look out for the community and do a good deed. It’s just been horrible.”

Appearing at Luton Magistrates Court last Tuesday, the CPS called to drop all charges against the youngster based on a lack of evidence.

Dismissing the case the chair of the bench enquired if the defendant had been arrested for trying to be a good citizen, said the youth’s father.

But the three month ordeal has taken its toll on the teen, whose furious father has instructed solicitors to contact Chief Constable Jon Boutcher.

“I didn’t have a very good Christmas”, said the teen. “It’s been so stressful to the point I’ve got very upset.

“For a couple of days I couldn’t sleep.”

Beds Police insist they have no record of the phone calls made. A spokesman said: “At approximately 4.30pm on Friday, October 9, a man was seen on CCTV carrying a machete in Luton town centre.

“The man was arrested by officers shortly afterwards and he was subsequently charged.

“Bedfordshire Police has a responsibility to protect the public and fight crime.

“Where we believe an offence has been committed, we have a duty to investigate the crime and arrest the person we believe is responsible.

“We are aware of reports that he called police on the day in question about this incident, however, we have no record of him contacting us on either 101 or 999.

“We have not received a complaint about his case, and we would encourage him to contact us directly if he would like us to investigate his claims.”